& Ensure An Effective Social Media Strategy
By Marisa Benton, Bayshore Solutions Digital Marketing Team
I can remember the excitement I felt when I finally got my college email address and could sign up for Facebook (and how annoyed I was that it opened up to high schoolers the very next year). Then everyone got on Twitter to voice their opinions and follow celebrities. By senior year of college, we all joined Linked In to get more exposure professionally. Since then, new social networks have been introduced with increasing frequency and have been accepted just as quickly.
Social media has changed a lot since its debut, officially in 1997, but one thing that has not changed is that people love to use it. They want to spend their valuable free time on these social networks, and now you – your brand or business – can spend time with them there, too.
What Not to Do on Social Media
Since being invited to the social media party, many businesses still aren’t sure what to do when they get there. In this article, you will read what should be included in your business’s social media marketing strategy. Before we get to that, though, let’s go over seven social media sins that will keep brands any social media marketing strategy from being successful:
1. Being a narcissist. If the only thing you plan to talk about on social media is your new product or most recent press release, go back to the drawing board. Users want to see stories that they care about and that are entertaining, so that is how you should frame all of your social messaging
2. Forgetting to Listen. Social networks give businesses invaluable information about their audience directly from their current and potential customers. Ignoring what people are saying about your brand and how users interact with your content on social media is like shooting your strategy in its foot.
3. Muting your customers. Social networks are a place that allow for connectivity and conversation. Users want to reach out to brands and share their experiences – good and bad. Deleting comments, ignoring complaints or giving canned answers to users’ questions will not get you very far.
4. Treating all social media platforms the same. Crafting an awesome Facebook post is good. Pushing that exact same post out, as-is, on Twitter, Instagram and all other social networks your company is on is bad. Each network is unique in its requirements, how it is used and the audience that uses it, so tailor your posts specifically for each.
5. Never being human. Don’t forget that social media is personal. The profiles people create on social networks are extensions of their lives and themselves. View your business’s social profiles in the same way – as an extension of your brand. Tell your story and show your audience who you are. This will help build trust and brand loyalty.
6. Being one-dimensional. Text-only posts all of the time are boring. Twitter users engage with tweets that include images 200% more than text only tweets. There are 4 billion videos views on Facebook every day and the platform wants 30% of its newsfeed content to be video. Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and Snap Chat are completely driven by images and video. Enough said.
7. Assuming your strategy works. If social media is ever-evolving, your strategy should be, too. Try new platforms and features, run A/B tests and don’t shy away if some of your tactics fail. The more you test, the better you will know your audience and the type of content they want to engage with.
Effective Social Media Strategy
Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of social media for businesses, let’s talk about moving from a good social media marketing strategy to a great one. There are two ideas that make up the foundation of an effective social media strategy: participation and borrowership.
PARTICIPATION on Social Media
At this year’s Social Fresh conference, Daina Middleton talked about the power of participation. Middleton said that marketing and advertising has moved from persuasion to participation. She is right, and social media for businesses is the answer to how brands can participate with their audience.
What should your business’s participation look like on social media?
- Engage and connect with individuals through conversations and customer service on social media.
- Motivate and empower your audience using your posts’ messaging and graphics.
- Leverage your brand’s partnerships in the local community or through business relationships.
Middleton said that in today’s advertising space, “Nurturist brands win.” Make nurturing your audience part of your business’s social media marketing strategy in order to reach new customers, foster brand loyalty and see bigger returns from social media advertising.
Adrian Parker, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Patron, also spoke at Social Fresh this year introducing conference-goers to the idea of borrowership. He explained that your brand doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to your consumer. This might be hard to swallow for some business owners and marketing directors, but it’s true.
Do you know how your brand is being received and interpreted? If you don’t, your social media marketing strategy may be completely missing the mark. Karianne Stinson from Priceline shared an example of exactly that at Social Fresh.
Stinson explained that Priceline had been using the same messaging from their T.V. commercials featuring William Shatner across all of their social networks. This seemed like an effective social media strategy because it included elements like brand familiarity, campaign consistency across platforms and a celebrity spokesperson – but it wasn’t. After listening to what their audience was talking about on Instagram, Priceline learned that customers were concerned about hotel room quality. The brand turned this into a successful social media campaign where influencers and customers posted photos of the view from their Priceline hotel rooms.
To find out how your audience is currently interpreting your brand, start by searching your name, mentions, hashtags, and related industry terms and hashtags across social networks.
Follow the tips in this article to create a truly effective social media marketing strategy. If you’re still unsure about how to get started, Bayshore Solutions’ digital marketing services include the management of social media for businesses. Ask us more about it.